Okay. Okay, welcome everyone to our visioning empathy circle. This is a
discussion to talk about our vision for the property in 1964 kenosis Road in Santa Barbara, Charles, my brother just purchased the property. And we're looking at how to develop it and build a retreat center there. And as you saw, we had our mission statement to that. I'm Edwin Rutsch, the director of the Center for building a culture of empathy. And for about 15 years, I've been working on the topic of the project to just increase the level of empathy in society and the world. And now Charles has purchased this property and asked that I helped manage it and with our nonprofit to create a nonprofit, you know, based on our empathy center to to manage the property. So we're going to be using the empathy circle practice, which is our for this the beginning of this discussion, which is sort of the best first step gateway practice that I know of, for fostering empathy and kind of mutual understanding. It's based on active listening. I hope you well, I'll explain a little bit later, like what the process is, but first, let's go around and maybe just introduce ourselves, your name, your location, you know why you're interested in taking part in this discussion? And I'll just model it. Oh, fast, Elisa. Great. Hey, guys, Lisa, that's Charles's wife. So we're just doing going to do introductions.
Like I said, I'm Edwin Rutsch. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area, El Torito, just north of Berkeley. And Charles had asked me to help manage this property. So that's what my interest is. So Shawn, would you like to go next?
Oh, gosh, sure. Hi, I'm Shawn Mitchell. I've more or less met several of you and Juliet and other beloved friends. So you know, I've been in the retreat center business, I was with la casa de Maria for almost 10 years. And I'm excited and thrilled and yeah, excited and thrilled and find find the whole idea of being having a new Retreat Center in Santa Barbara, you know, so meaningful and touches me to my
I'm happy to contribute and participate and assist in any way I can. Oh, thanks for joining us, Sean. Charles, like to go next.
My name is Charles rich, Edwin Rutsch. Is my brother. I purchased the property a couple of months ago. This is my wife. So Lisa, we're currently in Tahoe at an air b&b. We'll be checking out in a little under an hour, then being on the road. So
first, Lisa, introduce yourself.
Okay. My name is Vesta. Lisa, I'm Charles was wife and Edwin's sister in law. Excited about the retreat center that they're working on. We're actually going to go there this week. Take a look at some things and work on some things.
I think I know most of you, Lisa. I was joking before you came on. I have a lot of experience with young people from about seven to 14. And I can see why sometimes. So welcome to an exciting ride. Anyhow, my name is Ken Ferguson. I'm up in the Zuni mountains of New Mexico. But I had 35 Happy years in Santa Barbara, where I was involved with all number of nonprofit educational things. Maybe some of you know of the Institute of world culture on chappellet Street or the Varde SATA foundation on Anacapa are in a kappa High School. But mostly my focus in Santa Barbara was the Santa Barbara middle school where I helped started and was the head of that for 20 years. And I'll just mention to Sean and Juliet that I started school in New Zealand and among my major backers were Don George and his wife Dawn from from Casa de Maria and Steve Eisenstaedt, and I go back many decades about 40 and he helped me he actually visited and sent his children to both my schools so fascinating what a small world it is.
Yes, my world Thanks, Joe. Yeah, I would like to introduce yourself.
Sure, yes. Oh, that's interesting to hear about Ken. Nice to meet you. Yes, I I'm currently chairing a program at Pacifica. That is one of the depth psychology specializations. This one is depth psychology, integrative therapy and healing practices. I was a big fan of La Casa de Maria did a couple of facilitated a couple of retreats there and attended things there. I think it would be wonderful for Santa Barbara to have another retreat center to have a special place like that where people could go and have a variety of experiences. I've also been involved in ED bastions grouping of Interspiritual. Work and his spiritual paths foundation. So let's see. That's about it.
Thank you, Heather, just introduction.
Hello, everyone. Pleasure to meet.
Oh, you're muted, just went mute.
There. Hi. Lovely being here. Thank you. It's a real pleasure and honor to be here, Sean invited me and talked about the center. And I was very excited. I've been in the center retreat field my entire life. It's a family business. In the health and spiritual realm, as well as facilities. I recently ran a large facility and spiritual center in New York. As way of background, I'm also an ordained Reverend interfaith minister. And I just got my doctorate from meridian, and organization. So the background in organizational leadership as well. So sort of pulling together many things, I'm really fascinated by what you're doing. So thank you.
Right. So we're gonna start off with I guess, Strauss and Vassilis may have to leave a little bit early, since they're going to be checking out. But we're going to use the empathy circle process. I think most people here are familiar with it. Hopefully, Heather and Juliet, you're able to see how it works. I know Juliet, as you know, being in the therapy world is basically active listening. in a group setting, one person is a speaker, they select their listener, you speak for four minutes, now keep time and if your time comes up on my hold up, assign this time, kind of wrap up what you're saying, get your final reflection, then the listener becomes the speaker, select who they're going to speak to. And we just go around for the time allotted. And so I think we're ready to start I can be the first listener who I'd like to, to speak and our topic is What is your vision for an empathy based Retreat Center at 1964 Los Pinos Road in Santa Barbara. So who'd like to speak? I'm listening.
I guess I can tend to like to go first and not be anticipating. When I think of a retreat center these days I'm really interested in attending to diversity, equity, inclusion, world traditions, where nobody really has is left out regarding what their particular tradition might be, or what might be opening up for them in blending traditions, and even opening into new new ways of understanding spirituality.
Reflect out on Hearst, I'm hearing you're, when you're thinking about a retreat center, you're thinking of diversity, equity inclusion, so a sense of diversity and a sense of including evolved, maybe all different people and cultures. And
yeah, and I also thought I wondered if restorative justice processes could be part of an old branch, retreat center. And then I was reflecting even a clinic, psychotherapy clinic that included spiritual questions, spiritual explorations. I don't know that's big thinking. But just some thoughts that percolated as seeds. I think defining empathy and what that means, in a broader sense for a retreat center, or groups of people coming together with a shared mission. And also I just want to say I'm grateful to Shawn for inviting me into this circle.
Okay, I'm hearing some gratitude towards Shawn for inviting You in terms of empathy, you're wanting maybe a broader I mean, a definition for what does that mean? And then seeing the perhaps there would be a space for sort of psychological practices and restorative justice as well, too.
Yeah. So I don't know, I'm new to this. I'm new to the circle, I'm new to whatever the intentions might already be for this retreat center. That I, that's really all I can come up with right now. Aside from really nice to meet everybody and connect in this way. And hear about synchronicities and you know, small worlds. And that's really, for me now.
Okay, then you're here. You're sort of seeing the synchronicity sort of appreciation for that. And so yeah, then I'll speak and now it's like, Charles. Yeah, let's see. I had put there's a, I just put the link in here, if you want to take anyone wants to take notes, they can take notes on that document. In terms of the center, you know, I've been working for about 15 years on on the topic of empathy, you know, how do we create a more empathic society. So I've done a lot of work with definitions, you just kind of with. So you've
been working almost 15 years on your center for empathy. So you've done a lot of work with that you say definition, definitions
of empathy. Yeah. And in terms of, you know, Juliet's ideas about restorative justice, I really see that the center could have a center for restorative practices, you know, for conflict mediation, we've done a lot with political left, right? Mediation, we've been out where the political left and right are having demonstrations, you know, like knockdown, drag out fights, like out on the streets, la Berkeley, and we go there with our empathy tent and offer listening to both sides and do conflict mediation.
So as Juliet says, you could totally see that retreat center could participate in restorative justice, reconciliation, you've had a long history of mediating between the left and the right, and taking your empathy tent to hotspots where there's been a lot of conflict.
Yeah, as well as in families, too. So we've done family, mediation, you know, bring families together, we actually this practice that we're doing now, is sort of the core practice for any kind of mediation, if like, if there's a conflict, you can get two parties listening to each other. What we're doing right now is the practice that I think is the foundational practice for any sort of conflict, mediation work, and we've done it with, like I said, with families as well.
So you've done this with families as well. And this practice of reflective listening is the kind of a core practice.
And I'm really excited Juliet's here from the Pacific Institute, because I think there's a really great synergy, I think, between what we're doing here, you know, based on empathy, empathy is like the core of any sort of psychological or any kind of counseling therapy, where it gets like the core essence it seems to me so I think there's a lot of overlap with with Juliet school there.
So you're happy that Juliet is here from the Pacific Institute because you believe there's a lot of synergy and overlap between what you hope to accomplish
Yeah, I feel hard. Thanks, Charles.
Want to select your listener?
Okay, I'll speak to my wife
Okay, when I bought the place a couple months ago, I was thinking or the price was right. And I could maybe have different retreats, everything from marriage retreats, to men's retreats, women's retreats, that kind of thing.
So when you bought the retreat about two months ago, you thought that the price was right At the minute you could do different retreats at the place. Variety, like men's retreats and marriage retreats, women's retreats.
Right? So there's a lot of potential for other retreats. I don't know how much of the time Edwin's work will occupy this space but there is potential for other things too.
Yeah, so there is a variety of retreats that could take place at the space and I don't know how much you don't know how much time Edwin's work will take place at the center but there's definitely room for different kinds of things there.
Okay choose your speaker listener.
I was supposed to be kind of a fly on the wall here
is their names. Yeah.
I don't know. May I skip my turn?
If you just select somebody just say a few words maybe Shawn or Heather or Kent
I'll speak to you at one
okay, I'll the thing
I'm hoping that one of the things that you know we will do is you know what? I'm really going blank. I'm sorry.
Yeah, just going blank. You're kind of starting to think of something but then kind of going blank and
You say you're feeling hurt and then we can move on? Or? Okay. You're feeling hurt? Great.
Chose to choose me.
Okay. Yeah, you're you're kind of surprised that you were chosen you are to be a fly on the wall and just kind of went blank. So. Okay, and you feel heard? It'll come around again, if you have ideas. So I'll speak to Sean. And
yeah, so in terms of the type of workshop, it's very open, you know, I have some workshops for empathy work that we do. And it but it's very open. It's can be restorative practices, it can be yoga, it can be you know, dance, or it can be you don't name it to it, the floor is pretty open in terms of the activities that we can we can hold there. So it's not just one type of practice.
What I'm hearing you say and when is that you feel that there's a lot of opportunity for lots of different kinds of programs and retreats and initiatives and learning opportunities.
So if anyone has an idea of some kind of a workshop, for example, I heard Juliette say she'd held workshops there were you had worked and you know, just put together some ideas. I had lived the year at Esalen. And so just I'm familiar with esslyn, you know, just all kinds of different you know, any, any person can kind of hold a workshop there if they have an audience can bring in attendees. So
what I'm hearing you say is similarly, very open to hearing about all kinds of opportunities for individuals to do workshops, seminars and retreats. Perhaps, you know, because Juliet did some that look concert, she would have some thoughts and ideas about the different kinds that Las Canalis could hold.
Exactly. And so currently, there's 14 bedrooms that are usable, who just need they need to be furnished, and there's several sort of meeting rooms so little things can already get started pretty soon for once you get furnishings and there's a lot of renovations still to do of other buildings, but could already small steps could are small workshops could already be held. Short pretty soon.
You're saying that pretty soon. There's an opportunity to start having some workshops and retreats. There's 14 Sleeping bedrooms available, you're renovating them and you think you could get started Pretty soon,
yeah, those are already renovated. They just need furnishings. And there's a whole nother wing that needs to, you know, major renovation, that's more, you know, towards the year sort of a project to renovate those with permits, and, you know, getting plans. And so yeah.
So those 14 rooms that you were talking about, they're ready to go, they've been renovated, but they need furniture. And then there's another building or section of some rooms that still need to be renovated. And they might be hopefully, ready. By the end of the year.
Yeah, I feel heard. Thank you, Shawn.
Thanks, Edwin. Um, no call on Heather. Listening. Ah, well, I read a little bit about what in when sent out SARS little late on the you know, please submit three questions, but I did read cance. Three. Comments, questions.
So I'm hearing that you, you review the material, the comprehensive material that was set out, and even though you didn't write through, you did read can't?
Yeah, and I tend to, I guess, at this point, kind of agree with Ken, that, you know, I'm feeling more like, you know, briefs about structure and operations, and, you know, the checklist of getting towards when it's going to be ready to come on the market, so to speak.
I'm hearing your enthusiasm about when it's ready to go on the market. And like kind of more the specifics and the checklists around what's happening, what's currently being done, because I'm sensing from you that there's there's a lot of work that's, that's already available.
And I also would say that I feel and this kind of reflects back to what Edwin and Juliet was saying to is that I feel personally, right, that there's going to be a lot of individuals, organizations, and small groups, and so on, that are going to be very excited and delighted to potentially have workshops and seminars and retreats there. In fact, I also feel that along the lines of the Center for building a culture of empathy, and what Juliette said earlier about an initiative for the BIA. Let me leave it at that and follow up in a sec.
Yeah, I'm hearing that like others are feeling that it really is a place that people will will want to come for a variety of different types of programs, and that there's a really a space from very exciting, meaningful programming. It's already being planned.
I also feel as a retreat center, that you know, there's other organizations that align with Edwin's mission that don't have what I'm going to call a brick and mortar property to maybe call home even if they're not there, you know, all the time. And there might be an opportunity to have other organizations have a bit of a home base, if you will, there. And I think it'll be very successful.
You know, feeling that there are other other organizations that don't have the brick and mortar or the facilities that could really find a meaningful home base there to contribute to.
Yeah, thank you, Heather. I feel hurt. Thank you.
And how about Kent, would you be my
happy to be that Heather? Oh,
thank you what I'm really enjoying being here and listening to some of the programming. I've heard of retreat center and I'm beginning to hear more about categories, if you will, of potentially body or physical like yoga retreats, mind which are more than organizational as well as spirit and just interested in the fullness of the programming.
I'm here Ingrid, Heather is happy to be here rather excited. She's drawn to the organizational side of things and feels that a word used was fullness that there's quite a lot of possibilities here.
I'm also happy to be here, I looked at some of the previous recordings. And I know there's a lot being done in terms of the facilities and the thinking around the process. And I'm also hearing a lot around the term I'll use it safety, particularly safety of culture, safety of ideas. And I'm also curious about an overall safety plan, because I know you were talking about, you know, some of the refurbishing and what needs to be done. But the full the full essence of of being a safe place for people to come in terms of just, you know, weather and ways of being so just to be a safe place and everything that would incorporate because it's that feels like a very safe place for ideas people and, and just for families to be.
So you're speaking about the fact that you are so interested that you've already seen some previous presentations, previous programs. You're focused right now on the concept of safety and not so much safety, physical safety, but safety for ideas, where people feel safe, to express to listen to try out something. And you have a marked curiosity about all of this and looking forward to more.
Thank you can I feel her?
Well, thank you, Heather. Like all of you, I'm very happy to be here.
Who are you speaking to select?
Oh, sorry. Sorry. Well, let me go back to Juliet. If that's all right. Juliet, are you okay with that?
Thank you. I'm just thrilled that Heather and Juliet and and Shawn are here. This is probably my fifth or sixth circle. I've been following this with much enthusiasm for a couple of months. Now. I must say that, Juliet, when you mentioned synchronicities, and overlaps, I very much resonate to that. I actually my own personal belief is something wants to be born something rather beautiful. I don't know what I feel like if I had the privilege of being a midwife in a way I I'll get the towels and hot water and see what happens. I might mention that about all this overlap business that I just got off the phone with my friend and brother of many decades, Roger him events. And Roger has just purchased the dos pueblos Institute. And for those of you that are in Santa Barbara, that is another interesting connection going on here.
Remember to pause for your reflections?
Sorry. Yes. Sorry.
cans, I'm hearing you say that. You were pleased to see several of us here that in this overviewing of things, you're appreciating the synchronicities. You see a lot for me to remember here. Yeah. You're also you're also intrigued by what the connection can be with the dos pueblos. This the facility and that there may be some connections there.
Well done. And I'll try to, I'll try to remember to pause. I would like to mention that years ago, we helped form something called the Santa Barbara summit for Tibet. And in that phase, we looked carefully at this property, then called St. Mary's. And in fact, we had a plan where the Dalai Lama of Tibet was going to helicopter onto the property on his 80th birthday, which was six years ago now. And that, therefore, I became familiar with the place. I'll pause.
So I'm hearing you say that when the center was St. Mary's, you were involved with the Tibetan group coming through they really wanted to bring the Dalai Lama to have his 80th Birthday Did there? And you're reflecting on that right now.
Yes. And thank you. And it wasn't only Tibet, but that was the that was the first thing. It was the indigenous cultures from all over the world. Anyhow, when I found out that Charles had purchased it, my first thought was, well, it's a place that had a vision, a Roman Catholic seminary, but now it needs a new vision. And when I did, as Heather said, she did the homework and looked at stuff. I did, too. And then I encountered Edwin and I thought were here's a vision and search of a place.
So I'm hearing you say that the place had a vision, but now it needs a new vision. So you are pleased to see that that Heather was looking into things beforehand, just as you were. And really pleasantly surprised to also have Edwin here.
And that was a time four minutes, so
thank you, I feel hurt. Thank you.
Thank you just continue Juliet's lecture listener. Ah, okay. Shawn.
It's appreciating hearing everybody's reflections. And I wish that I had had a chance to look more at the materials ahead of time. I got the link. And I assumed it was just the link, you know, I got the email. So I've been very busy. So only about 510 minutes before this call, I was able to see Oh, my goodness, there are so many pieces there. I could have looked at ahead of time.
So what I'm hearing you say, Juliet, is that you're grateful to be here, and that you didn't have an opportunity, quite busy? To take a look at all the yes, you could say linked materials before the calm but looks like there's a lot of information there.
So I'm getting a sense of things by listening to everyone. And I'm getting a feeling of anticipation and excitement for for what this could be. I know that property has been up there for a while. And I actually know a couple of people who've been to retreats up their Buddhist meditation retreats when no who led them, but it's, it's a wonderful property. And I think there's a lot of possibility for it.
So I hear you saying that you're hearing what everyone here on the call is sharing and that you're familiar with the property. And that you know that there have been some retreats up there in the past, and you feel that it has a lot of opportunity.
And I, I feel heard. Thank you.
Hey, I guess I'll ask in one, this might be a little bit on that. Maybe a little more on the operational kinds of maybe a couple of questions
that you want to ask some questions that are more operational type questions.
One of my first questions as has got to do with not just the conditional use permit, but if you perhaps have had an opportunity to look from maybe a land use attorney that could help with some of those things. And your local land use attorney?
Yeah, it's you're thinking of if we look at a local land use attorney that could address the conditional use permit.
Yes, you know, and probably they would be able to facilitate, facilitate, some facilitate some of the issues that you will be needing to work through.
Yeah, you're really I think it's like you're seeing the conditional use permit sets the stage for how the property is used, and I'm gonna need maybe you're suggesting attorney land use attorney to kind of help work through the use based on the conditional use permit.
And I do feel that, you know, there'll be other, quote, land, land use issues that may come up that they could help you with.
And then attorney would help with all those land use issues or pie come up.
And then another question is, or something that I would suggest putting on your endless list is, if you've had a chance to learn where your water is coming from.
Yeah, you're curious about where the water is coming from for the property?
Correct. Yeah. You know, are you have wells, or is it coming from the county? Or are you in the city? And obviously, water is a significant issue, everywhere. But definitely, in Santa Barbara,
you're looking at sort of the nuts and bolts kind of questions in water, you know, where's that water coming from? And that's an important thing to understand.
Yeah, thank you. I'm heard.
Okay. I'll speak to Charles then. Okay. Yeah, I just want to address Heather, which you were saying about safety, that I have found that the empathy circle is one of the safest sort of processes gateway processes. Because everyone gets heard, everyone gets sort of equal, more or less equal time. And you can say anything you want, you know, be free to say anything you want, express any emotions that you want, and you will be heard to your satisfaction. So just addressing Heather's issue of safety, I think this is a safe process.
So as far as Heather's question of safety, you just want to say that the empathy circle is a good way to address that, because everybody can say what they feel and feel heard.
Yeah, but in return, you gotta listen to the other person, right? I can say anything you want, you know, be, you gotta be, you gotta be willing to listen to the other person. So I think that adds a level of safety.
But in return, it has to be mutual, both sides have to agree to hear. It's not just one person speaking over the Yeah.
And in terms of sort of workshops, this is already our first workshop, in a sense, we're sort of training people in how to do empathic listening, which is foundational, so you're kind of taking part in in sort of a workshop as well, and learning sort of some core practices that we that we do for our empathy center.
As far as workshops, this is kind of like the first workshop, in that you're being trained in how to participate in an empathy circle.
Yeah, in terms of the conditional use permit, it's been a little bit vague. But we've been digging through all the documentation, I think we've got it from the county, it was created to the county before the property was incorporated into the city. But we've we've sent the information requests to the county to get the original documents, we've seen sort of copies of the what I think is the conditional use permit. And and we also are, had asked the planning commission here to have a meeting with them to talk about in we're just waiting to hear from them. And so there's, it's sort of in the process, you know, we've got a whole bunch of documents and so that that is we that's, that's really core, it's like what is the use permit kind of sets the stage for what we can do with the with the property.
So you'd have a whole bunch of documents concerning the conditional use permit. And you've been reading through them. And the conditional use permit sets the stage of what can be done
yeah, and recommend talking with the city and also just sent a request for for information from the county to so that's in the works.
So you've been talking with the city and sent a request for information from the county
and terms of water, there's, they just put in a big pumping pump. They spend a lot of the previous renovation so there and I'm not sure where the water comes from, but probably Charles no was.
So as far as the water, there was some infrastructure built in by the previous owner. But you would think that I would know where the water comes from.
Yeah. And I appreciate Sean's nuts and bolts questions about that, because that's that, that's conditional use permit is totally central to what we can even do there. So that is a core. That's kind of like the first question really, almost answer.
So you appreciate Shawn's question. And because it's kind of a condensed foundation of what we can do then.
Yeah, I feel heard.
Okay. Does anybody want to speak, I can choose the next. Okay, well,
I'll take a quick turn. Okay, then
I'll speak to you can't. So can the water comes from the city of Santa Barbara, that's who I pay the bill to every month can reflect on.
So Charles is responding to the question about water. And he knows that it comes from the city, and he's paying paying for it.
The previous owner did a lot of work, bringing fire water up to the top because that was a condition of doing the renovations that the previous owner did.
So Charles is aware of the fire realities in Santa Barbara, and he's looked into this and the previous owners also did quite a bit of work about the subject of fire and water.
When the Catholics put in their requested, you know, they use the property. They asked for a seven to eight sisters, residents, and then a 30 to 40 faculty and add seminarians. So that total that was granted permission was just under 126 people at that time.
So the question of numbers and come up and how many people could be there and have been approved from there. And Charles feels that after research, the number 126 has come up and seems viable or acceptable, or at least in the books.
I know that in 2016, there was some thought of locating as private school there. But it was thought that with a 300 to 400 students, that it would be too many day trips up and down every day. So that was denied.
So he is aware of that. Among the options considered in the past was the idea of a school, but a school of maybe 300 or more students. And Charles is aware that not only is that number excessive, but in listening to neighbors, he knows that traffic is a real concern. So So basically, that idea came and went.
There was a treatment center that wanted to use it, and I guess they started the renovations. I think they went bankrupt.
I believe you're referring to the last owners.
Brother, previous to the last owners.
I see. Yes. So. So as far as Charles is aware of there's been several previous owners and at least one of them went bankrupt in this attempt.
Yeah, the treatment center did get permission to the substance abuse treatments there. But that kind of fell through and it had opposition from the community. Then there was a thought of turning into a homeless place that also had opposition. And I'm not quite sure why that fell through.
So more recently, there have been serious efforts to consider this property as a rehab situation for people. This that was very poorly received by the media. Get neighborhood the political powers that be. And then after that idea passed, Charles points out that there was quite an effort to turn it into a homeless shelter, which again, was really be assisted by the community nearby.
Okay, well, we have to pack up and get on the road, listen to the rest on the road. And I feel her can't. Thank you.
Thank you, Charles. And, Heather, can I speak to you? Thank you. I would love it. I'm listening. Well, thank you. I'll just add my end, I have looked as carefully as I can, at the CU P question. And all the data that I find says that this property is set aside for educational or spiritual use. And I am led to believe by sources that I very much trust that as long as this effort could fall under the category of either education, or spiritual, there won't be any issues.
Right. And I'm hearing that you really studied this and the, the, the documents available to what the facility can be used for, and that there is agreement that it can be used for education and spiritual services, or education or programming.
Yes. For the last 30 Thank you, Heather, for the last 30 years, this property has been owned by absentee owners, people who did not know Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara did not know that. Santa Barbara was concerned. And I wish to commend if the if there's one, the one thing that Charles and Edwin have done, right, and there's more but if there's one thing they have done, right, is they've reached out to the Santa Barbara Community. And my own impression and information from a variety of sources, is that in them reaching out the way they have and being open and honest, they will not encounter political resistance.
So what I'm hearing is that you'd like to commend both Edwin and Charles and being very active in the community, both listening to the community reaching out to the community. And that's very positive, where some of the past owners have really been absent and not as embedded in the needs and connecting with community. And by being connected, it's going to make things a lot easier in the CO development with a local community.
Yes, exactly. And the final thing, Heather, from me would be that. I am very impressed by the openness of Charles and Edwin. And in fact, Edwin is apparently posted online about 100 pages of email that he and I have shared. So. So there's not as far as I can tell him, I should have looked at it. There's nothing hidden going on here. And for those of you that are feeling new to this, I would urge you to at least read his one paragraph, vision statement and his one paragraph mission statement. I'm under the impression he really means some
beautiful, thank you and you're very open and excited about the openness of it when and sharing. So nothing is hidden. Everything's available. Certainly this this program is being recorded and online. And you really encourage people to read the vision, the mission and the other material that's made being made available.
Thank you, Heather. I feel very hurt.
Thank you. Thank you. So Juliet, would you like to be my listener? Okay. So, so we're gonna thank you all. I have been interested in this being about vision. And what I love is the amount of work being done around the vision and also specifically the mission and particularly the criteria and and I'm enjoying learning more about what what is it legal, what's available, and the thought that's going into it the criteria of what's being available, made available. The programming,
oh, I'm hearing you're very thankful and you're reflecting on your gratitude around the vision, the mission, the criteria. And also you're curious about the legal aspects.
Yes. And And related to that, also, the thinking and the knowledge it's about, called the competition, but the other of what has worked in that site, but also the other programming available in the community and around of how, how this vision could be different or consistent with other other programs that have been done, or that may be done the future.
So I hear you're reflecting on other programs that have taken place up there, and in the community, and what the future could hold about incorporating some of that. Thank you.
And I was also happy to hear about the fire water, and that the safety and to get the comp comfort about the safety of the programming and the safety of ideas, and also about the safety within the facilities that people are physically safe. When there's
so you're you're reflecting on not only the safety of ideas and how that's being held, but you really are also reflecting on the physical safety, and making sure that that's in place and you are grateful to Shawn for bringing up some of what she brought.
Thank you feel heard.
You're welcome. Okay, so, Edwin,
I'm inspired by what everybody is sharing here and how deeply people are thinking about this. And impressed by how much work you put into this already, Edwin.
So you're impressed by how much work I've already put into this and just by what everyone else is sharing?
Yes. And I I was also concerned about I know it's a fire area up there. Almost every time I visit fire. There is uh, that area is under watch, if not threatened. And I know that with Pacifica, at the Madera campus, there have been evacuations and people are staying overnight. It's they can get trapped up there. You know, it's, these are practical considerations as well, even with water.
So the fire dangers was is a concern, because you've just heard that there's fires, there's been fires up there. And even where you are in Pacifica, there's been evacuation. So the fire dangers are real concerned.
And I look forward to seeing what emerges in terms of the community interest and ideas that get shared with you, people, I even reflect on international partnerships.
Yeah, you're just interested in how things develop with the community as well as maybe making international connections and partnerships. So just looking forward to that development process.
And just do it, thank you for including me in this conversation. I'm new to it, but I'm appreciating being included in the reflections
you're appreciating being included in this process and the empathic reflections so I hear I feel heard and thank you I'll speak to Shawn
Yeah, let's see in terms of fire there has been fire in that area went through the property the building some base that it's almost like a fortress because it's you know, the cement, tile floor ceilings as well as brick walls. So it gotten a little singed. But it went through the fires fairly well.
Yeah, I hear you saying that you're aware that the property has mix has had fires pass through it. And that because of the of construction with brick and tile, and so on that it's whether the first pretty decently
plus I think they had goats there, which were kind of eating everything too. So we need more goats is that things are starting To grow up, you know, after things get burned down there now with the rains. So that's definitely something to think about how to how to keep the brush down.
Yes, in terms of fire again, the they've had goats up there, that's a great option in keeping the shrubbery and Chaparral and so forth under control.
Yeah. And also thinking in terms of the empathy circle, usually we like to go for at least three rounds, everybody's had at least three rounds to speak is the first time or two, you're feeling a little anxious, like, Oh, what is this process? Am I doing it right, by about the third round, you start settling into it and start getting more comfortable with it. So I just wanted to share that in terms of the circle process.
You're sharing more about the circle process in the sense that once everyone's had an opportunity to reflect and speak and share three times, then usually kind of picks into gear that there's familiarity with the process.
Yeah, so I'm also curious how anyone and if people here might like to be involved in the center, we are looking at with our culture of empathy center, you know, we have a lot of volunteers who have volunteered, it's been pretty much a volunteer organization for doing trainings, and so forth. So we're, we're sort of, we have to shift all that to this physical space. And it's a whole process, it's to sort of scale up to this. And then also looking how anyone else might like any ideas for how to how you might like to be involved.
I understand you to say that you're looking for ideas, you're looking for volunteers, you want to scale up from ideas into having volunteers who might take some projects on and help. I just like you said, scale it up.
Yeah, because we the the overall vision is to make empathy, a primary social value, cultural social value, and, and that's to bring it into all sorts of aspects of society. And I even ran for Congress here in the Bay Area with that, with that, under that campaign, like let's build a culture of empathy. So it didn't win. But, you know, it kind of helped get the word out.
I'm hearing that you ran for Congress as on a platform of building a culture of empathy that you didn't win, but you are passionate, this is your life calling. And you really believe and feel that the Los Pinos property can be an important foundational place. Yeah, sure property in the world to contribute to this important initiative. building empathy for everyone
very much. So yeah, it seems like it's sort of scaling it up to be able to get more cultural attention for this mission. You know, Barack Obama, when he ran for office, he talked over and over again, the country had an empathy deficit. And he wanted to bring people together. And he said his main regret afterwards is he wasn't successful. And I think that we actually have practices and processes and are building a movement to do that. So I think we have a lot to contribute towards that, towards that mission.
Well, as I continue to try to reflect back what you said, I think you had to create an advisory board and tap Obama on the shoulder to help headed up in terms of this third chapter of his, you know, desire to build a culture of empathy as well.
Yeah, exactly. If we can get him on board. It fit right with but his mission message was, we have anybody has contacts with, he's welcome to be on the advisory board or be a board member, that's for sure.
You'd be you. What I'm hearing is you would love to have Obama involved and if anybody has a contact, or know someone who could we share this initiative with him? That would be great.
Yeah, so the question is, you know, I'm putting it out there that the mission is fostering more empathy in society. And it's, it's to be thinking in those terms, and if you have ideas for doing that, because we're trying to bridge the political left Right divide. So, you know, we would love to have the Democrats and Republicans do empathy circles in Congress, right? That they, that would be a core practice the different sides. And if Trump runs again, we'd love to have Trump and Biden do empathy circles instead of a debate. So just, you know, thinking big here.
What I understand you saying is you're opening, opening up this to everybody, and I don't need to continue to reflect back each time. Yes, yeah.
Just the essence. I feel heard. Yeah, that I think you got it. So that's my time. So I feel heard.
Okay, well, in addition, I'd like to open it up to everyone. And if it's okay, yeah,
we can do that. Now. We've gone for about an hour or so now, we can just open up to general discussion without reflection. So yeah, so go ahead and just share anything that's on your mind. Any questions, just feel free to jump in?
Well, if you don't mind me, I would like to jump in. And and thank you, brother, and thank Juliet for being here. I feel no believe that both of them. They know what they're talking about, they have quite a bit of experience and in the realm, and the spectrum of not just a property that bolts retreats along the lines of empathy and spirituality and contributing to the well being of the world. I'd love to have them share their thoughts and ideas about their experiences, and so on.
Well, when you Thank you, Sean, for that invitation, when you were speaking at when, about people on different sides of political parties, sharing together, you know, in empathy, circles, I thought that Alport, you know, started that back in what the 60s Jordan Alport. And story core that that organization, story Corp. They're trying to do that too. So it made me reflect on maybe there's a partnership there to even record some of these as examples of a way forward away that this can be where people from different political parties might come together, but not share about their political views, but share about other things that connect them. And then once that connection is felt, it opens things up so that people then could share differences. And so I'm really inspired by I've heard you mentioned that a few times that one and I love that I really do think that that's a vision for the future that we need desperately.
Charles and Vasily so we're just opening up for discussion. There's no reflection. So if you have any comments, and I think I had there I did you want to say, Shawn and asked for your thoughts. You're muted.
Thank you. I love the idea of getting your message out there. And I think, whether it's Obama or whomever to really look at your media and trying to talk to earlier about, you know, what media you'll have for guests who are coming. But there may be be at podcasts or conversations, perhaps have, you know, more publications from you. And I don't know, we haven't talked too much about the whole marketing area. But certainly a lot of my background is in the production of media of different ideas, just to let people know that you exist, and in that, in that you get into the political arena of having a space for empathy, I think is phenomenal, that is non non political, and how one would manage that or get that message going. As you're saying big, bigger than the place so you have the place but then you also have the world that you're really connecting to. And that to me is part of my background and exciting about having a place and also being in place to connect to other larger organizations in this world. So just, you know, supporting supporting that idea as we look to you know, the 150 plus people coming there. How do you reach millions of people? Also, just another time, as you're talking a lot about volunteers, and I know I'm in the sort of the Connecticut In New York area, there's a lot of legalities around how to use volunteers. And just within your market to be mindful, you've been mindful about other things about the HR considerations of how things are done. And what are the criteria as you're moving from volunteers to employees, or how volunteers can be used in a not for profit or for profit, if you also end up having a for profit division, so just the whole HR area would be something to consider I'm sure you are, but it used to, you're sort of moving into that arena now. And there's a lot of legislation and then legality around that. The other thing, just down the road a piece, I'd love to see something for empathy for animals. And we're talking more about people. But there's much more going on now in here of animals and all kinds of animals, and certainly in the environment that you're in the we've talked about goats, I would imagine there's also, you know, mountain lions, and certainly there's the birds and it would be interesting to do some how is the empathy center, caring for and connecting to the animals in your neighborhood and around
your and nature in general. So it's a very broad empathic vision. So empathy, Frank, PETA, haga are the Animal Rights states actually have an empathy center, I think in LA, that they actually call it the empathy centers that are kind of advocating for empathy with animals. Yeah.
You know, I like to think in images a lot. And I was wondering if there's this if an image had been arising that kind of served as a holding space for this or might even be put forward as an image?
Yeah, we have the NPD Center has a kind of a simple hand drawn logo of a circle with people in the circle, who is somebody drew it from an empathy circle. So it's kind of basing it on that empathy circle, as sort of the core practice. You thought, at times empathy, you're talking about definitions, is defined as a individualist, one person listening to this thing to an other or being empathic towards another. And it's pretty core to the whole therapeutic model or as a therapist listening to the person. But what we're looking at is taking it to the next step where it's a mutuality of it. And I think that's something that sort of missing is thinking and in relational mutual terms, and the empathy circle really captures that it's not just one person doing all the listening, somebody's doing all the talking, but it's it's that mutuality, aspect.
And if I can jump in, but a few thoughts. We've started out talking about maybe Obama joining this. And there's other names I would put forth, who are very interested in empathy. The Dalai Lama would be one. Lois Capps used to be the congresswoman many of you know that. After her husband Walter died, and I think she'd be interested in this Oprah lives in Santa Barbara, as does Ellen DeGeneres. I believe that Harry would Prince Harry would be drawn to this. Heather, I was really struck by your remarks about the story tour. And I myself believe there is a story here. I believe something is being born. I've said that before, I think something is unfolding. And I think there's a powerful story here. I've approached one of Edwin's friends named Lou and another one who lives in the senators Valley, who's done this for years named Tom, about telling the story. So I'd love to see that animals have come up. And I'd like to mention that Cesar Milan is very interested in in spreading his operation which is not too far from this facility. And he's looking at Spain and near Boulder, Colorado. And but this idea of, of animals. Being involved as an educator, I can tell you, it's the next thing coming with children. And it needs to be for me that some of this is exciting and new because I've been involved with so many organizations over half a century, and most of them are mostly interested in money. This one is not this one has a good vision and that is why I'm on the other side of where I normally am. And instead of pushing the vision, I'm pushing that it needs structure. It needs organization, it needs a little more discipline in that area. The last thing before relinquished just Shaun said something really very helpful at the beginning of this. I'm not sure you were all there. I was hoping to hear more about Pacifica, and Casa de Maria. She pointed out that this may not be the right format for for a lot of discussion about synchronicities overlaps, unfolding situations. I myself would welcome a conversation that's not necessarily to be broadcast, but just a sharing of some of these interesting overlaps between, again, Casa de Maria, Pacifica, and now, what Charles wishes to call Valinor. That is the new name for St. Mary's.
That could be a question right there, we're discussing the name even with the space. So we're setting up a nonprofit, the organization center for building a culture of empathy has just been an association of sort of avoided doing all the paperwork for a nonprofit. But now we have to scale up to to a formal nonprofit, 501 C three, and we want to call it currently the empathy center, just something a little simpler. Charles likes the word valen are for the space, which is from The Hobbit for the Lord of the Rings is where the Elves Go. I'm not like crazy about it. But I don't know if anybody wants to say anything about the naming. It's like, I'd love to hear kind of any thoughts about the naming of the spaces. Everybody is often referred to is, you know, former St. Mary's or, you know, St. Louis, is what it was called St. Mary's seminary. I don't know if anybody wants to jump in on that. theme is that Kent, you've warmed up to Val in our but
I would just jump in from a marketing standpoint, it really helps like, you know, Miss Pacifica or Meridian or epsilon, it just, it just helped me that it's, it's a felony, it's just zippy. So it just rather than the Center for empathy, which is lovely, just isn't the marketing. Or it can be you can also have the tagline, or the center.
So we've kind of been doing the empathy center Vallon, or the empathy centers, we've been the tagline we've been using. The problem is that valen ours already taken with the domain name. So it's, it can't be valid. or.com or, or gets gotta be. But yeah, so it's like, what I'm hearing there is from a marketing point, just one word, like valid Are you think has a good marketing,
just for people to remember. And I also would like to just connect to what Ken just said that there. And I know everything is open here. There are other organizations that are doing similar things like where the Dalai Lama visits in other locations, and other that we might be able to share more about, again, nothing confidential, but perhaps in a little more detail, or different models of organizational structures, or people to consider talking to so.
Yeah, I guess, I want to say, before we got started was because Kant was curious about some information about the constant de mer and so on, I just felt that I didn't want to out of respect, and also because I mean, I don't know, you know, it's been whatever now for five years ish, since lacasa. Had to close that, you know, I am not necessarily on the inside of what's going on there. And it would, out of respect, and just don't feel like it's a place to have a completely, you know, public conversation about everything, and so feel comfortable.
Yeah, we in terms of other organizations, we'd love to talk with any organization, you know, just about any sort of collaboration. The first thing we did is I know David Price, who is the son of Dick price founder of esslyn. And he'd been director there for 10 years or so. So he just kind of connected with him got his ideas about the center. I just talked with someone from Mount Madonna, which is another retreat center up here near Santa Cruz. And, you know, they were they had ideas you know, for cross promotion of it. The workshop leader does a workshop at Mount Madonna. You know, one week they connect with the San Francisco, you know, the Bay Area community. And then if we hold the work, they can come down to Fallon, our and then hold a workshop the following week and then have the LA you know community so they can sort of cross promote. So there's sort of that was like one idea that they had for cross promotion that it's easier for the EU, together, we promote an event. And then also for the workshop leader, they have two places to do a workshop sort of back to back, which maybe is less travel for them. So those are some collaboration ideas.
And when there's Sorry, I was just gonna say Edwin is swarming, or considering forming an advisory committee, and I just speak with my own piece, not for him, but I sure would think that any of the three of you would be very valuable. And about these other places, like quite agree and appreciate Shawn's thoughts. But in terms of other advisors, perhaps, Julian, I don't know how far back you go with Pacifica. And I don't know how far back, Shawn goes. But Don George, basically was such a wonderful leader of contemplative area for so many years. His wife Dawn, as you might know, Julia taught at Pacific I don't know if she's still there. I doubt it. And they both were highly instrumental when I started the school and on that day in New Zealand, another person or two that would be interested in this, I'm sure are Steve Eisenstaedt and his wife, Marin, who also like Don George at Casa, were major funders of the school now. And under that I started in New Zealand and sent their children to the other school in Santa Barbara. And you probably know that Steve has withdrawn from from Pacifica in many ways, but but I wouldn't be surprised if he was also quite interested in this project.
Yeah, I think he probably would be yes, yes. And I know with his dream tending, he does that internationally. And he's been interested in something with the Ukraine as well. And there's a new director of the retreat center at Pacifica. They have a lot of online offerings, but they also have in person. But Laura Lee Scott is the new director of the retreat center at Pacifica, and she seems very open minded and interested in all kinds of different collaborations and conversations. And so she might be a nice person to invite or include in any of these conversations. The last president Joe Cambria of Pacifica who's retired now, he's still lives locally, and he may have some ideas, his you wrote a book synchronicity, you know, looking at Quantum complex adaptive systems. And there's a new president at Pacifica now to who is very interested in expanding the vision and outreach of Pacifica and any collaborations. So, in particularly, maybe even with nonprofits, so that there would be some bridge. So, you know, I can maybe make those connections at some point.
That'd be great. Yeah, we're looking for any sort of connections, any ideas as the center, you know, that we have the vision. And there can be different projects, like empathy in the schools, because we have a group that's working on bringing empathy into the schools as a foundational practice, you know, empathy for in politics, bridging political, social divides, or even in families. So, you know, creating different projects that could have, you know, like paid, you know, lead to it with maybe a group of volunteers around that and then see about if people wanting to donate, they can donate to specific projects, for example, it'd be sort of one model that we're looking at, you know, so we're looking for different, you know, different viable models are for that.
And certainly Pacifica is closer, but I'm not sure if you're talking to the folks up at Meridian up in Petaluma because they have a similar model. and do similar courseware to Pacifica on failure. As we were sharing earlier, sadly, the facility that they used to
had was burned down in the center. So one of the fire, so fortunately, nobody was injured at that time. But they they are similar in nature and do a full doctorate in psychology and other things. And that's where my doctorates from. So be fun to connect you with some of the work they're doing as well, it's very much aligned.
What I've learned too, is that, particularly smaller retreat centers and nonprofit retreat centers, and smaller I'm going to say is, you know, 100, or borrow or even 150 ish heads in the beds. You know, it's very difficult if you don't form some kind of marketing affiliation with others, that there's just not a budget, there's not much of an advertising marketing budget, unless you affiliate or have a little concert marked a, you know, consortium of other both small retreat centers, where you're exactly what you said earlier, you can kind of cross market. And so if you come to, you know, valid or, and maybe there's a little, you know, brochure or the ones you're in affiliation with, for example, or you're having a retreat with, you know, ABC teacher, and there's a flyer or, you know, saw on the website, of course, at the same time, there's a flyer to pass around that, you know, this teachers teaching at this other retreat center, and so on. And maybe as tourists or, you know, you want to be selective, of course, that they're of a caliber, that is similar to what your property is. But it's really, it's important and, and that kind of cross marketing is important, because one retreat center doesn't have the budget, that 10 just thrown out a number, or 20, or even 50, over around the world can throw in together in terms of, you know, like a monthly retainer that goes to this group.
I'm hearing a lot about the marketing really how to promote the different programs and kind of working together with other organizations to do that.
There's an organization called I want to call it I think it's called a holistic center, holistic center for retreats or something of that nature. And there, I want to say not Breckenridge, or something not Breckenridge, they're, they're out of Oregon. And there's a fella there who has a small Consortium, and they meet once a month, from time to time, and here are these directors and so forth from these different, smaller, you know, maybe like a Hollenbach, and so on, you know, from around the country and Canada. And it would be important to eventually, you know, get into those groups.
I'm hearing your zombie has, in the past year or two, having had a facility and been very engaged with other facilities like Apollo and omega and Mandela, and some, some other ones more East East Coast based. But other ones beyond that the people getting together, particularly since COVID. And how much is done online? How much is done in person? Oh, there's been a big shift in in this, this space, and how these spaces are used, how they're marketed to who's coming, who's not coming, the travel involved. So the business has changed because of the environment. And there's a lot more conversation. So it's like, well, that idea of of talking to others, especially based on what's been going on in the market for the past couple of months. And it's exciting and also problematic, just because in many cases that relies on people coming to your location. For a number of reasons people haven't been coming so that the both and has been becoming more of a phenomenon. And I think that's going to be here to stay as well.
Yeah, no question that I was working at mandala in Italy, and when locked down occurred, you know, that was not. And we had to close for a certain amount of time. And that wasn't the only retreat center in the world that had to go shut down, which put a lot of them, you know, when to like looking at bankruptcy and won't make names. So it's very, very challenging. And they had to look at it a different, you know, let's call it a business model in your no question. And what does it look like, we got to go online. Now, we don't know anything about that. And we have to, like learn to put program or programming on line. But now what I'm learning in terms of trends to a certain degree to is that will people read, well, they liked the auction, because they can pay a little bit less and have a retreat at home, but and watch the webinars seminar, and participate from that perspective, but they really want in person. At the same time, what we're learning is, you know, what some of the demographic has moved to, and I am going to say 1440, in this particular case, has become somewhat corporate ish, you know, corporate leadership corporate, that it's very residential people come for, I'm going to say, not business necessarily, but certainly they kind of found a niche in a way, instead of going there, maybe yoga, but yoga is offered, they they're also finding that a spa will wellness, the wellness industry is just huge. And so the more you can incorporate a wellness element with not, you know, you don't have to go to spa ask, but the more of a wellness element to the property is also a big draw, stress, and so on. So I'm just throwing all yellow trends out there. But the cool thing about Santa Barbara is Santa Barbara, really has a need, we went over this one time, and another really has a need, they're incredibly, awesomely wonderfully functional way, the whole thing located, as it's the property. Who doesn't want to go to Santa Barbara, it's internationally known. And it's easy to get to to certain degree. So I think it has all the makings, like Kant was saying about Super opportunity. And then one other quick thing, like I said earlier, is that I really, you know, lots of contacts of organizations and people, and like a meridian or a ubiquity or whatever, that would love to have a little brick and mortar home base that they could utilize from time to time. And, you know, maybe there's a retainer element about something like that. Anyway, I can get a little all over the map there. That's great.
That's because, you know, when we're coming into this, we have no idea about the current state of the retreat center, like any field, it's constantly changing. So you have to get a sense of what's happening in the industry at the moment. What are the trends? You know, Mount Madonna, they were saying, people don't want shared rooms anymore, they want their own room, for example, they're finding that you know, is a is a real issue. And you mentioned 1440 I saw that too, that before they had done a lot of different variety of workshops, and now it's as if it's just a corporate retreat, bring your corporation rent the space for your corporation, I think they're doing no over night or residential workshops there anymore. So that's like a big shift. So like, what's the trends? Yes, so we're trying to get a picture of is what those current trends are. Within the context of Division Two, you know, with that we have
it's really important to ICL, you want to have your bread and butter groups, I call them and they book every year so I mean, you know, your annual budget, you've got you know, 20 I'm just throwing out a number or 30 or 50 You know, ABC or taxation two big book every year, they're coming back and you just park that into your ROI. You need the voter I call them groups and then you fill in something like you know, putting a puzzle together then you can fill in with the ones who call you 678 months, oh, I want to bring my yoga group or I would like to bring the letter and then you can work them into these other places. I mean, it can be kind of, you know, a work of art to put that whole thing together that makes it.
You've done that, Shawn.
That's why I'm like, you know?
Yeah. Go ahead, Heather, please.
Another model, if you have not, at least to take a look at the new you've been studying many things is, is the Casey Center in Virginia Beach. So that would be another one just, They've really grown over the past couple years. And they have a very diversified model in terms of they teach, they have groups come they have an in person, they have an online, they do certifications, they've got the bookstore, they've got the spa. So you may not want to do that diversify, but it's fairly small, the same thing. Mandela has really diversified. So if you if you're familiar with it, the Dalai Lama's retreat or center out here. So just so some interesting models, again, from the East Coast, because it's in case you don't, aren't as involved with them as you are on the West Coast programs.
I'd like to add, I have a real concern here. It's just comes from me. But I feel that Edwin has a remarkable vision and a remarkable passion, I feel that is his strength, I feel like he he means that when he says he wants to reach the world. Now, my worry is that. And I think even he might disagree, but I'm sharing my perspective. Publicity is really needed to see up is really needed water is really needed marketing business, the business model, should there be a spa should to be wellness? What about corporate retreats? I think everything I just named is important. And I don't think Edwin should be involved with them. I think that his strength is, is this larger core vision. I think this project needs help in everything I just named. My own hope, though, is that Edwin doesn't get as I've seen and experienced myself, to be honest, you can get lost in these other details to the point you lose track of what is the central vision. So I'm all for business models. I've been pushing that very idea. But I'm hoping that people, including the people listening to my voice right now can jump in around the edges here, because they need to be addressed, but not in my view by him.
Those are such good points, is there a budget already for a couple of employees, like a marketing director, for instance,
we're sorry, go ahead.
Oh, it's what we're at the stage, you know, we're just sort of developing this sort of step by step, we're looking at sort of the property, I'm working on the nonprofit right now to kind of set that up. So you have to go, you know, that's gonna start setting this, you know, the stage for for that the model is that the Charles's LLC owns the property, we're setting up this nonprofit to manage the property. So, you know, with that, we're gonna need the board, the, you know, the kind of setting up the structure, the the strategic plan, and all that. So that's sort of in the works. And Charles is saying, you know, he's willing to put in several million dollars into the development of the, of the property, we're just going to need that for renovations and so forth. So I don't think we're at the stage for like marketing yet, you know, because we don't have a clear, you know, the framework for kind of the marketing, it's more sort of the development of the property, you know, getting the foundations together the basic foundations. It's more kind of like the industry sheet, the the 501, C three, the strict strategy and getting all that and we do have, we started a advisory group that we meet, you know, every week or so. So you're welcome to join that too, or just as to kind of have these different topics come up and you know, start organizing them and get it more of a systematic plan together. It's sort of all in the works. You know, you're kind of, we're just kind of getting started. We're starting with these empathy circles as a way to connect with the community. It's been great for you know, connecting with everyone here, it's sort of a sort of a connection space, you know, you can bring any friends, anyone that has ideas, you know, come to the circles and share them and see what connections there are understand, ask any question. And so we're sort of at that phase, I will mention that the spa, which we are going to put in a pool, you know, sauna, so it'll have more of that aspect as well. Hot Tub, looking out over the, the view there. So I don't know if that answered your question. Or I don't want to be too vague. But we are sort of in that stage of trying to put the puzzle together. And yeah.
And someone asked about budgets, we've looked at five so far, but they're all just to get minds going. There's nothing I mean, but they range from what your mic on was called Shoot the Moon millions of dollars. To know something quite small, essentially, a community of adults practicing witnessing empathy. So. So there have been some initial efforts in that area, but miles to
go. And there's a community of practice, which is if you look at places like here, in the Bay Area, we have Spirit Rock, you know, Buddhist center, you've got the green green Gulch shots, and I was thinking of, so you have a community of practice of Buddhism practice, right. So as a religious aspect, there's a core group who's living there, who were teachers, as well as students who are kind of learning that practice. And then they open it up to workshops, or any, you know, they'll have all kinds of workshops are held there. So it could be a looking at a similar model. The community of practice is founded on mutual empathy. And empathy is the mutuality, you know, there's openness that comes from that trust connection, innovation design, if you're familiar with human centered design, you know, coming out of the school at Stanford, or IDEO, it's the whole process for if you design anything you need the first step is you need to empathize with the people you're designing for. So there's the design and innovation component, there's the mental health well being aspect, which is the core empathy is sort of the core of that which I'm sure you you're very familiar with Juliet, that your school right, you're teaching all these counselors and therapists, and then there's also empathy is the core of mediation. You know, if you do any sort of mediation, it's like, the first thing is get the parties to mediate the listen to each other. And again, that's those are some sort of general areas of a of a core of people working on that within any kind of workshops, you know, coming in so that's kind of one model if we could find people who are kind of, you know, interested in that sort of thing. I'm planning on moving down so yeah, so already got a room there so Decker I'm don't have any curtains at curtains. So it's yeah, it's it's got my room's got my name on it.
When you when you bring up green Gulch, I think of a couple of things from there. One is the food of course and Tassajara and the food and the bread you know, so at some point we haven't talked about
the food you know, yeah, I know what you're talking about. Yeah. The Six
Sigma mini media centers have you know, signature foods so there was just I don't know get some hungry but yeah, there and other centers have you know, and people there if you if you want to you can participate in the gardening and the making of the food and so the food is part of the ceremony of being there. So just I'm sure it all you're planning, I'll just, I'll just throw on the food thing.
Doing the dishes above all collected, but certainly you know, other other organizations that becomes a profit center in many ways. And then something to look at as you're doing the not for profit, are you also simultaneously looking at the a for profit, so not necessarily that bookstores are ever profitable, but sometimes they are, you know, they have you may not have the space for it, but are other things that would be some are not for profit centers, corporate stuff is for profit. So there's different types of events. I know you're talking mostly not for profit. Anyway, let's have a rambley sentence but
Yeah, for the we're looking at nonprofit I think are running the pretty much everything all the you know, the whole center, there is a, it would be owned by, you know, the LLC. I mean, that's the current model that we're looking at. So it would just pay rent or a lease to that. So I think everything would kind of be managed by the nonprofit. I mean, there's all kinds of we're talking all kinds of tax issues, like what falls outside of the scope of the mission? How is that taxed? And I'm looking at all that. It's, it's a nightmare. But it's complicated. And, you know, I want I do, you know, can't keep saying don't get stuck in the weeds. But I think for the foundation, it's important to really sort of master the, to have an understanding of all the this, you know, the basic nuts and bolts aspect to set it up on the on a good footing. So I don't not worried about that. But yeah, so I don't think in terms of corporate retreats isn't that I mean, corporation can just come do a workshop, and it's, you know, fits within the mission that we're trying to foster empathy and education for any corporation that wants to hold a
word. And as you're, as you're looking into, I don't want to get into the whole, you know, what the tax thing is, and what the what's appropriate there and what people are coming in and what they were doing. So it's very specific to your organization. That was all just, there's, there's different ways and not for profit of what can be done or sometimes spas are for more for profit than not for profits. So it's just the structuring.
Yeah, that's what we're trying to work that out. So those are all good things to bring up and really to address. Yeah, I
think what Pacific did when they had a couple of massage therapists that would be available on site when there were retreats happening? I believe they were just independent contractors who came in so they didn't have to worry about paying them through Pacific
as a lot of different ways of handling all those situations, a little nuts and bolts of those details. Yeah.
Just a quick a quick question to three ladies who have had more experience with these retreat centers than I have. Many of them are quite upscale their spas and massage and you know, hot tubs overlooking the Pacific and pricey actually. Now, this facility that we're talking about today is going to be redone, it has to be re improvements, you know, new building. My question is about the, the rooms i What's your, shall we say advice to the question. Should this be sort of a simple almost like a monastic environment? A comfortable but not posh? Or do you think that the reality is today this thing has to be more upscale?
I'll take that in
Yeah, go ahead. Go ahead. The image is the in between leaning and leaning on posh. And it can be rugged, posh. So posh means it's the the pillow is nice. You know, the blanket is nice. You know, they're there. That it's that it's clean. It doesn't have to be you know, a five star hotel. But it has it has to lean on feeling good. Some of the in the past the traditional dormitory worked. And I think if you're really having, you know, a school or something and just okay, it really is a dorm. It was a dorm. But if you're even if you're coming in, it's not that expensive to have a couple of the little niceties. You know, I think if I could be wrong, but I think even a gringo they have there's a little tea in the room or there's a little teapot in the room or there's a little a little bit of a little bit of special care. Whatever that means. nuanced care, it doesn't have to be punch but it has to be care care. Full or full of care.
Does that make sense? Oh, yeah, very
much so yeah. And clean I
think also will have theirs right. Because, again, you know, you're looking at your you know your ROI. I mean, you know what you it'd be great to have programs that let's say might be pricey. But on the other hand, you might be able to configure, let's say, part of your dorm or something like that, that can then take on a group that is more needful. Let's put it that way. But I, if you haven't had a chance to let you know, when I was working at mandala and Ithilien, and you can look at their rooms, and they were, they are sparse, if you will, that they are beautiful. And the the types of materials the Bedi just very simple. It's they have that kind of Yes, it was in Italy, but it's a little bit of a, I want to say sort of a Nordic design but it might have a Bali overlay overlay on top of it symbol but like Heather was saying really lovely and those small amenities that you know like a tray with a pot on it and a couple of tea bags so that in the morning you know you could fix yourself a nice cup of tea or in the afternoon whatever she's right you can do very simply, but with a really good say even kind of an elegant upscale kind of a sense simple tone to it and be thoughtful I wrote some books on sacred space in Fung Shui so I'm very happy attunement to what I consider to be a property that's got a let's call it an overabundance of masculine energy which you're which this one and then lacasa For example, which had an overabundance of the feminine energy you you drove up this canopy you know, oak tree kind of lane to get into this property that had lots of oaks and it was very hope it's okay to say some moonwalk in there. So so so the ambiance had this natural vessel of safety and feeling and nurture, which is a lot of those, you know, feminine energies. And one of the some of the things that you can do with your rooms as you can incorporate those, quote, feminine, nurturing, soft qualite was soft fabrics, curves round, I mean, there's all these kinds of other things that I we can talk about another time that bring that energetic attribute and ambience to it overly masculine, hard, straight lines in the sunshine instead of being you know, all canopy with trees. So I'm just going back and forth about that. And you want to encourage that they call it a vessel that ambiance, nurture vessels, safety, comfort, relaxing, trying to say,
Yeah, very much. It's very institutional. Right now it's a it was an institution, it was for male priests. So it's, there's a lot to really transform it into being more or Oh, yeah, more aesthetically pleasing. And all the qualities you just mentioned can exactly.
Juliet should be able to comment on that because and can't refer to it at certain point. Do they have ladera not stop and you can fill in but the Pacific has two campuses. One is down here closer to the ocean, and it's got the one level beautiful stucco Tile Roof buildings very garden like and in a sense, and then you derive up ladera to seminary as well at the same time, an area and it's a big, you know, brick building with not dissimilar from St. Mary's. It was a seminary for guys being priests. They've done beautiful things with the garden. And I'll stop now because Juliet, you know, is far more familiar with that, but that they needed to work on that as well as a similar situation.
Yeah, there's a labyrinth and little statues around a yurt now. A rose garden, you know, things like that. Nice colors. Yeah, I haven't seen any of the dorm rooms there. I think they're pretty basic. But then they have a couple of high end rooms apparently in the main building, for visiting guests and things like that. I haven't seen them but they're supposed to be really nice.
I have seen them and they're absolutely beautiful. I don't know if you've ever run upstairs in the boardroom?
Yes, I've been up there. And yeah,
I think, with a fireplace and everything, just incredible. But of course, the problem, it seems like when you do that, as they did the lead arrow, then you have to charge to cover your expenses. So, yeah, there's that very difficult balancing act there.
Yeah, I would recommend that maybe maybe one room that's like a VIP kind of special guests. Well, I think they've always got students in the dorms, so they can't use them so much for the retreat center. They have to really structure and plan that well, because there's a swarm of the masters students constantly coming through there. But But I don't know, I would listen to Shawn, any space that I've been in since I met you, Shawn in 1996 is magic. Shawn knows how to make a space magic. It's just amazing. So she, you'd be a good consultant from the fishway point of view? And also just aesthetically? No, you have?
Well, that's definitely something we're needing to look at is the overall aesthetics of the space, how to transform it. So that's, that's great. Yeah. I just mentioned, we do have that advisory group meeting, you know, I don't want to take too much of your time and so forth. But you're welcome to join us in that to any of you. So
when are your advisory we
were meet, we were doing it, if not every week, but we it's like before this session, we were for about 50 minutes, we were meeting with Kent and Lou and sometimes Charles, just to kind of like, start thinking, you know, you're also looking to put together teams eventually, you know, for the staffing. And, you know, we're not quite, you know, there yet, but it's a way to just kind of discuss and sort of make connections and see where, you know, to get this first layer down. And then you know, start seeing what the next steps are. So just mentioned that.
Thank you. All right. Is Shawn's home in Santa Barbara, mask. Seanad. Is that your residents? Are you local?
Not at the moment, I've been recovering from some surgery up in the Pacific Northwest. But and but my, my, my homes, and all this stuff that I put into storages in Santa Barbara before I went to Italy. I'm looking forward to going back sooner than later and and candidly, I would love for, you know, this might be one of those vehicles to pick me back. But certainly a matter of months, I suppose. Thank you. All right.
So I don't want to keep us on time. We said two hours. I want to keep us over. So any final thoughts? And we'll send that email afterwards too, with all this info, but can't do you want to just any closing? thoughts before we go?
Only that I think this is just what the doctor ordered, so to speak, I think these three women have their heads screwed on and have a lot of good experience. And I'm grateful that they're willing to participate.
So kind Thank you.
Juliet, do you want to? Well, I
thought that starting it with the empathy circle and grounding a meeting like this, and that way, is it's just really moving to me and inspiring. I feel like I know each of you a little bit better, just in terms of the essence of who you are. And, and I really commend you for having this vision and start and walking the talk.
Thank you, thank you to Shawn for inviting me. I would agree I love the way it started out in this whole center and what you're doing. I would add one more thing to the room conversation is remember the ADEA and compliance and it's just when you're doing all this, it can't overstate how important that is, especially these days. And and more than more than you might imagine, because things were often built before wheelchairs got larger, and other things. I'm sure you're taking that into consideration, but but please do and hopefully we'll see you again and again. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Sean. Well
Um, I want to say thank you to Juliet and have him for coming today. And grateful, blessed for your friendship. And I agree they're incredibly bright women, and one foot in the real world of running retreat centers, if you will, in properties, and another foot in the spiritual loving impact world. And I think that that's a beautiful thing of a rare commodity these days. And I also acknowledge you at one for the transparency, I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, it's so that's rare these days, too. And so to walk your talk, and be transparent about this process is really extraordinary and wonderful. And if you don't mind following up with me anyway. And of course, I would love it if Juliet and Heather wanted to pop into with with your advisory, the dates and times, and so on, you know, I, I'd be happy to participate.
Great. Yeah. So I'll end with Shawn, thank you for joining us in a couple of these circles, and especially for inviting your friends we invite it's a bit of a Ponzi scheme, you invite more people. And invite your friends you know, to come, we'd love to talk to them and meet them and just hear their ideas and answer any questions they may have. So thank you, both Juliette and Heather, for joining us in this. And Ken, thank you, again for joining us. And then we begin on the advisory group. We're starting to form and it's To be continued. You know, you can join as many of these discussions as you wish I think next week, we have one again, I think, Shawn, you'd signed up for I think, I'm not sure. And then Christian. So he works at the center right now. So we have still space for others. So that's it. So thank you very much. We do a little jazz hands. So for photograph, Goodbye, and thank you so much. Bye again. That's the spirit